Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Oracle Open World 2001 in Berlin: The Truth (Finally)

It’s time that we admit it. We did horrible things at OOW in Berlin. We’ve not told anyone for all these years, but the pressure is building inside. So I’ve decided to come clean.

We had just started Miracle, so we were only about eight folks or so in total. So we decided to go to the conference in Berlin all of us. We rented two or three apartments and also invited our friends (customers) to stay with us.

We drove down there in a few cars and found out upon arrival that the apartments were empty except for the mattresses on the floor. Oh well, easier to find your way around.

I’m still not sure why Peter Gram or someone else decided to bring along our big office printer/scanner/copier, but the guys quickly set up the network, the printer and the laptops, and then we just sat around, worked on the laptops, drank beers and talked about all sorts of Oracle internals.

I went down to registration and got a badge, so that was good. Then someone (forget who) came up with the idea that we should simply copy my badge so the rest of the guys could get in for free.

It wasn’t because we didn’t have the money or anything. Oh no. It was just because it sounded stupid and a little risky. So that’s why you’ll find pictures here and there (including in my office) of the guys copying and modifying badges.

The biggest challenge was that the badges had an “Oracle-red” stripe at the bottom.

But Oracle Magazine had a special conference edition out which had a lot of “Oracle-red” on the front cover, so it was just a matter of using the scissors in the Swiss army knife.

It worked perfectly for the whole conference and we were very proud, of course.

It was also the conference where I was introduced to James Morle by Anjo Kolk, our old-time friend from Oracle. I had placed myself strategically in a café/bar between the two main halls in the conference center which meant that everybody came walking by sooner or later. So I met lots of old friends that way. And a new friend named James Morle, who was in need for an assignment – and we had a customer in Germany who badly need his skills, so he ended up working for Mobilcom for half a year or more.

So the next bad thing we did was to crash the Danish country dinner. Oracle Denmark might not have been too fond of us back then, because they thought we were too many who had left in one go. Nevertheless, we thought it was not exactly stylish of them not to invite us to the Danish country dinner – as the only Danish participants.

Our friend (and future customer) Ivan Bajon from Simcorp stayed with us in the apartments and he was invited to the country dinner. So we found out where it was, snooped around a little, and then simply climbed a rather high fence and gate-crashed the dinner.

That was fun. The Oracle folks there were visibly nervous when we suddenly stormed in, but what could they do in front of all the customers, who very well knew who we were? So we sat down at the tables and had a good evening with all the other Danes there.

We had lots of fun during those few days in Berlin, had many political debates and beers, and went home smiling but tired.

To my knowledge we’ve not faked badges or gate-crashed country dinners since.

There have been a few suggestions since then that the badges we copied were actually free to begin with, but that can't possible be. I strongly object to that idea.


Blogger Debra Lilley said...

why does none of this surprise me?

5:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And this is something to brag about?

6:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Badges? We do not use badges. We do not need any stinking badges. I don't have to show you any stinking badges, you god-damned cabrón and ching' tu madre!

1:38 PM  
Blogger Sidhu said...

ROFL...adventurous man !

3:30 AM  
Anonymous Kevin Closson said...

Ask James how badly we put the hurt on that night we started with homemade ouzo at that little Italian joint. I'm still hung over.

That was the conference where Anjo ran into me and told me he and James nominated me for the Oaktable. That was also the conference where IBM had those huge reader trucks rolling around out in the lot with DB2 anti-Oracle adds.

5:07 PM  
Blogger Moans Nogood said...

I'm probably confusing things. I seem to recall an IBM DB2-truck making circles around the Bella Center in Copenhagen during Open World there - was that 2002?

The OakTable was started early 2002, I think - so maybe you were in Copenhagen and not Berlin?

9:43 PM  
Blogger james.morle said...

I can understand Kevin getting confused between two events. I don't think that I have been the same since the night he and I decided to 'pop out for a beer' in Berlin. I remember the panic as the sun came over the horizon, the mad dash to the hotel for 1 hour sleep before they started renovation works for the day, and then a LONG, painful day at Tegel airport. But that's ALL I remember, and I'm going to stick to that story.

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